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Clutch issues, seemingly worse in 4x4

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Old 01-11-2018, 05:31 AM   #1  
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Clutch issues, seemingly worse in 4x4

Hi all—

I'm pretty new to my truck, a 5-speed '86 4runner. Got it in September, had more competent mechanics than I do some necessary fixes, and ended up driving it from Iowa to Maine last month with no issues at all. Arrived in Maine, though, I started having problems shifting into 1st, 2nd, and reverse, and my clutch started to feel spongy. Then we had a –5 degree day, and it just wouldn't shift at all (shifter will move if the truck's off, though).

I read the threads here and replaced both master and slave cylinders and bled the system, and the truck responded by letting me shift again, but it was still a little difficult in 1st and 2nd. I thought I might have missed some air in the lines or something, so I bled it again and went through about a fill and a half of the reservoir just to make sure. The truck actually seemed worse after that. The kicker? It seems to shift worse if I have it in 4-wheel drive. Also, sitting still in neutral, it'll sometimes grind if I try to move from 4 high to neutral to 4 low (in either direction).

(I also looked for a crack in the clutch pedal bracket, but I couldn't find anything, and I didn't want to drop the steering wheel to find out. I can't rule that out, though, because my brakes are starting to feel a bit spongy as well, and I'm wondering if that's related...)

But to start simple: Am I just not bleeding the system properly, or does this sound like something else? I do have some oil around the front of the transmission, but not significant. Wondering if the issue is deeper than I thought. The improvement after the initial parts replacement gave me (maybe false) hope that it wasn't the clutch itself, but I dunno. Thoughts?
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Old 01-11-2018, 06:43 AM   #2  
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how many miles are on the truck and do you have any indication or proof the clutch has ever been changed in its life?
It sounds like you are bleeding the system well enough and you've replaced both master and slave cyls.
Did you adjust the plunger to the pedal connection on the back of the master so it is the same as the previous unit? Is there any free-play there...too much maybe?
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Old 01-11-2018, 07:05 AM   #3  
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Next step is adjusting the free play. The new cylinder is engaging a little low. Also wondering about the rubber hose above the slave? The old fluid in the master cylinder was primer gray, so I'm wondering if I had deterioration in that hose that might've been letting air in. Just trying to go from little/cheap to big/expensive. Assuming it wouldn't be the shifter seat, would it? Would that affect shift from 4 high to 4 low?

The truck just broke 200,000 miles, but it's on 31s so that number might be stretchy, and I also can't prove the mileage is accurate. No proof of prior clutch replacement. Though I bought it in Wisconsin, the truck's history that I know of, as well as the kind and amount of dust I've found in weird places in it, makes it seem like it was lightly but regularly abused somewhere in Texas. My near-future repair list looks like this: "clutch, timing chain (metal guides, etc.), header."

Just hoping that there might be something simple I was missing. I'd prefer to recharge the truck-repair fund for a month or two before doing a complete clutch replacement; I'm in a tiny rental place on the ocean in Maine for a couple months, and there's no garage, so I'll probably be paying someone else for larger stuff. Just being under the truck (in the snow) replacing the slave cylinder was kinda hellish...
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Old 01-11-2018, 08:34 AM   #4  
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If the truck has 200k and only one owner who mostly drove highway miles and was very easy on the clutch, it could be original.
But with more than one owner, very unlikely.

For comparison, my truck now has 180k on it. There is no way it's the original clutch because mine has had at least 4 owners(31 years!).
It doesn't slip but the friction point is quite high in the pedal travel.
So I can tell it doesn't have too much life left in it. I'll be under there when the weather breaks.
Not an outdoor job in the New England winter!
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Old 01-11-2018, 11:24 AM   #5  
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Heh. Perseverance is apparently necessary. As of right now, everything is working smoothly again. Thanks for talking me through it all, though!

Here's what I think happened:

1.) Pedal travel was about a thread-and-a-half off like you suggested. Might be a coincidence, but I adjusted it to match the setting on the old master cylinder (which I thought I'd done right, but I guess not). The proper placement for me was six threads visible below the nut when looking down on the assembly. I'm guessing this varies by truck.
2.) Pretty sure I just didn't tighten the lines enough when I put everything back together the first time. I didn't want to break anything, but I might have prevented a proper seal.
3.) Probably needed to bleed the whole system longer.
4.) I was originally using a one-size-fits-all break bleeder kit hose, which didn't fit on the nipple properly. Grabbed a larger hose at the dollar store, which seemed to work.

For anybody new like me working on this, don't give up immediately. Check your work. Also, get the right tools beforehand. I had to make a couple trips back and forth. Here's what I needed in total:

1.) Exasperated but indulgent girlfriend (significant others may differ; results may vary)
2.) Master cylinder
3.) Slave cylinder
4.) 3/8 ratchet
5.) Long 12mm socket
6.) 3/8 extender (you'll see)
7.) Standard wrenches: 10mm, 11mm, 12mm (possibly 13mm and 14mm, depending on the model of truck)
8.) 10mm/12mm line wrench
9.) Paper towels (stuff below master cylinder to prevent paint corrosion from brake fluid)
10.) Funnel
11.) Siphon (to remove old fluid from master resevoir)
12.) Clear dentistry/medical tubing (check against the size of the nipple on the slave cylinder; make sure the hose is rubbery, particularly if you're in a cold place)
13.) Bottle to put waste fluid into
14.) Brake fluid (DOT-3 for me)
15.) TheAlexManVideos walk-through
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Old 01-11-2018, 11:48 AM   #6  
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Good deal. Now check the fluid level in the trans. If you can't get the fill plug out, just drain it by the drain plug and refill by removing the shifter.
GL4(very hard to find) or 5... Doesn't matter.
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Old 01-11-2018, 11:55 AM   #7  
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Will do. While I have the shifter out, I might add new Marlin Crawler seats just for the sake of doing it.

By the way, I think we have the exact same truck.
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Old 01-11-2018, 11:57 AM   #8  
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(except for all of the improvements you've made to yours)
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Old 01-11-2018, 07:06 PM   #9  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by just_some_guy View Post
(except for all of the improvements you've made to yours)
Cool! Put up some photos of yours.
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Old 01-11-2018, 07:07 PM   #10  
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Getting to that part. It's a new relationship, so I kind of want to get to know the truck before I go public, you know?
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